Government addresses pensions deficit, while Eir addresses customer service

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from ‘The Irish Times’ business desk

Almost 13 years after Séamus Brennan raised the prospect of introducing mandatory pensions, the Government is seemingly getting around to it. More than 850,000 workers will have up to 6 per per cent of their gross pay deducted and put into an occupational pension from 2022, under proposals unveiled on Wednesday. The scheme aims to address a stubbornly high level of workers who face retirement on nothing but the State pension. However, it will be another nine years before the auto-enrolment scheme outlined on Wednesday is fully in place.

Eir is understood to be considering the future of its contract with HCL Technologies, the Indian company to which it outsources its call centres, over a slew of issues surrounding poor customer service. Some senior managers within the telco are known to be extremely concerned at the service issues allegedly experienced by some of Eir's customers. HCL employs close to 1,000 staff in Ireland on the Eir contract, the majority in Dublin at an old Eir building.

Newbridge Silverware, Foxford Woollen Mills, Google Ireland – and even Irish Water – are just some of the Irish-based brands and companies that have been left out of pocket as a result of House of Fraser's administration. According to documents published by administrator EY, creditors of the chain's Dundrum store are owed some €2.8 million.

Bank of Ireland raised €750 million in funding through the sale of a first batch of senior bonds where investors could suffer losses if the bank ran into trouble in the future, under new European rules.


Saudi Arabia has called off both the domestic and international $2 trillion stock listing of state oil giant Aramco, billed as the biggest such deal in history.

Wall Street's bull market, which began in 2009, became the longest in US postwar history yesterday, surpassing the tech boom and bubble of the 1990s. The S&P 500 share index, tracking the 500 biggest public companies in America,has gone 3,453 days - nearly nine and a half years - without a fall of 20 per cent or more, which is the measure used by some analysts for handing it the status as the longest bull market in US history.

Considering the recent reports of Google's less-than-transparent location tracking, Karlin Lillington asks "where does responsibility lie – and what initiative may a national data protection authority take – when a company has potentially breached consumer privacy protections guaranteed under the new General Data Protection Regulation?"

Karlin also interviews data science pioneer Jeffrey Ullman, who argues that you have to assume that anything about you will be known and used by people around you. "It's sort of the same way things were in a village 300 years ago, right?"

Elsewhere, John Holden asks whether Elon Musk can finish the Model 3 before it finishes Tesla, we assesses the big ideas on display from Irish startups at an upcoming exhibition, and Marie Boran considers the benefits from enrolling in an online course on the science of beer.

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer is Motoring Editor, Innovation Editor and an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times